Akzo Nobel strengthening water treatment business

Akzo Nobel will significantly strengthen its position in the European water treatment market by investing in a new plant at its Skoghall site in Sweden. The new facility -- scheduled for start-up by late 2005 -- will manufacture ferric chloride with an annual production capacity of 35 kilo tons. An existing plant also will increase capacity in ethylene amines...

AMERSFOORT, The Netherlands, May 11, 2005 -- Akzo Nobel is planning to significantly strengthen its position in the European water treatment market by investing in a new plant at its Skoghall site in Sweden. Financial details have not been disclosed.

The new facility -- scheduled for start-up by the end of the year -- will manufacture ferric chloride and will have an annual production capacity of 35 kilo tons. Once operational, it will further propel the business towards establishing a leading position in the water treatment chemicals (WTC) market in the whole of North West Europe.

"Constructing this new plant will enable us to secure and build on our current market position in the Nordics, as well as helping the business to take a major step towards establishing a top ranking in water treatment chemicals throughout North West Europe," says Peter Kuijpers, manager of Akzo Nobel's Eco Systems business. "The WTC market is fairly buoyant and this is a financially sound project which benefits both the business and the site."

Adds site manager Claes Alderin: "The new plant fits in with Akzo Nobel's strategic growth plans for the WTC business and Skoghall is an ideal location for the facility due to the availability of raw materials on site, which will result in an integrated, highly efficient and cost-effective operation producing very pure ferric chloride."

Used mainly in waste water treatment, drinking water production and process water preparation, ferric chloride's main customers include municipalities and industries with high water consumption, such as the pulp and paper industry. Demand for the product -- which is used primarily as a coagulant or flocculant -- is on the increase in Europe, with the market for inorganic coagulants and flocculants estimated at being worth around EUR 350 million [US$448.23 million] in the WTC business' European home markets.

"One of the major reasons for this increased product demand is the fact that the newest members of the European Union are having to meet the current EU regulations and standards," explains Otmar Uebel, Akzo Nobel's Marketing Manager for WTC. "A number of existing members are also yet to come up to the expected level, while some market segments are demanding more efficient, higher quality products, which is also having an effect."

The Skoghall site currently manufactures various chemical products, such as chlorine, caustic soda, monochloroacetic acid and hydrochloric acid. The construction of the new plant will introduce a new activity to the location, but the company already has a long history of producing numerous chemicals for water treatment at various facilities around Europe, which are used in applications including PH adjustment, neutralization, disinfection and for servicing the pulp and paper industry.

Akzo Nobel (www.akzonobel.com or www.basechemicals.com), based in the Netherlands, serves customers throughout the world with healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. Consolidated revenues for 2004 totaled EUR 12.9 billion [US$16.52 billion]. The company currently employs some 61,000 people in more than 80 countries.

In related news, see: "Akzo Nobel unit to boost capacity of ethylene amines".


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